October 30, 2014

Aero Slim Grill

Description: A stovetop grill
Main Pitch:"Cuts added fat out and keeps delicious flavor in"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: 2nd one, Forever Sharp knife (just pay a separate fee)
Brand: Ogreenic
Marketer: Telebrands
Producer: The Schwartz Group
Website: www.AeroSlimGrill.com
Prediction: On the fence

This product has been a regular at pitch shows for years. An insider once told me that it always draws a crowd because pitchmen add an extra ingredient to generate a strong, smoky smell. However, until someone revives and popularizes Smell-O-Vision, that won't be replicable on TV.

So what about the rest of the pitch? Back in 2001, a version of this product called Mighty Pro Grill had a decent run in long form. Since then, it has been tried twice in short form -- once by Telebrands in 2009 (Grilltastic) and once by Ontel (Keoku Grill) some time after -- without success. Neither creative was particularly good (the latter being especially bizarre), so adding a top-notch production by the industry leader in food-related DR should improve results considerably.

The addition of the ceramic coating and the Orgreenic brand might also have been helpful, but both are a bit played out these days. All in all, I'm 50/50 on this one because of the creative and the fact that I have always liked this item.

[Spot is also available here.]

Still Chilled

Description: An insulated water bottle
Main Pitch: "Stays colder, longer -- guaranteed!"
Main Offer: $10 for one in black or blue
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay P&H)
Marketer: Allstar
Producer: Concepts TV
Website: www.StillChilled.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

Allstar's 2006 hit Auto Cool happened to coincide with a summer heatwave. This item could possibly take off the same way in a similar environment. But here in the Northeast, where we are already experiencing winter temps, it just isn't appealing.

In other words, this is one of those items that, if it doesn't work, I would file for re-testing at a more appropriate time.

[Spot is also available here.]

Booty Blanket

Description: A blanket with booties
Main Pitch: "The cozy blanket with booties for your feet"
Main Offer: $14.99 for one in gray, cream or brown
Bonus: 2nd one in same color (just pay a separate fee)
Marketer: Telebrands
Website: www.BootyBlanket.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

I'm fairly certain this item was one of the many Snuggie wannabes tried during the industry's rush in 2010 to prove there's only room for one and that novelty blankets were not some quirky new category. That said, it's an interesting question whether novelty items can be resurrected at some point in the future -- and that's a hypothesis Telebrands seems determined to continue testing. Their experimentation began at the beginning of this year with Goody Hoody and continues with this item.

I'm doubtful that this concept can ever work again, but I certainly appreciate the opportunity to learn something new for free.

[Spot is also available here.]

Weekly Round-Up

  1. Big Mouth Mask. Pitch: "Use anybody's face and you can take their place." Marketer: On Demand. Producer: Hutton-Miller. Comments: Depending on your tastes, this is weird, creepy -- or totally awesome! As much as I love to preach and follow tried-and-true rules, sometimes you have to take a flyer, and this product is unique enough to warrant taking a shot. The online animated version of this idea seems to be popular, so who knows? [ss]
  3. Cupdini. Pitch: "The never-spill cup holder." Comments: Neat idea, but I don't think this issue is very high on the problem scale. How often do people drive with open containers? [ss]
  5. Knits Cool. Pitch: "Knit your favorite fashions in minutes." Comments: Are favorite fashions knitted these days? Are young girls at all interested in knitting? Or is this a granny Rainbow Loom that should never have tested? My gut answers are no, no and yes. Knits cool? No knits not. [ss]
  7. Magic Finder. Pitch: "You'll never lose anything ever again ." Comments: When I first saw this concept on a 'crowdfunding' site, I really liked it. Not sure how well it will do on DRTV, though, given smart phone-related items have a terrible track record. Plus, this customer skews much younger than the average TV buyer. [ss]
  9. Softa Sofa. Pitch: "Doggie sofa that protects your furniture from hair, dirt, slobber and odors." Comments: As far as I can tell, no pet bed or blanket has ever been deemed a success, and many have been tried (Pet Cave, Bunga Bed, Pet Spread, Better Pet Blanket, Pet Rider & PetZoom Loungee). I also don't see much here to differentiate this from the dozens of similar solutions at retail. [ss]
  11. StickO. Marketer: Will It Launch. Pitch: "Tiny but powerful universal phone mount ... travels with you everywhere you go." Comments: This is more of a premium than an item, especially with more substantial competitors on the market such as Allstar's GripGo (a rollout) and Emson's Clever Grip (undetermined). [ss]
  13. ThermoGo. Pitch: "The comfortable heating pad that keeps you ... warm and toasty." Marketer: Edison Nation. Comments: I've had some experience in this category, none of it positive. Telebrands' Therma Scarf and Lenfest's Snap 'N Soothe come to mind. Besides seasonality, this product would really only appeal to someone who spends a lot of time outdoors ... shortly after being somewhere there's a microwave handy. The cold pitch at the end is also strange. I can't think of anyone who'd want a frozen butt? [ss]
  15. Wonder Watch. Producer: Concepts TV. Pitch: "Extra-large numbers ... makes telling time at a glance fast and easy." Comments: After the success of EZ Eyes, many marketers (including myself) took a hard look at every other large-print gadget that had ever sold well. Some projects even made it to TV (see Clear Call). However, none found success, proving the keyboard was an outlier and not a category. [ss]

October 23, 2014

Comeback Wrap

Even The Honeymooners love it!

Description: A compression back wrap
Main Pitch: "Helps relieve the pain from stress on your back"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay separate fee)
Marketer: Telebrands
Website: www.ComebackWrap.com
Prediction: On the fence

Give credit to Telebrands for leaving no stone unturned in a category. Despite recently testing Royal Posture (a superior solution to this one) and making several unsuccessful attempts with other back-pain solutions (e.g. Total Posture/Sit Right), they aren't afraid to keep trying.

On the other hand, Telebrands has had success with compression wraps (Ankle Genie) and slimming wraps (Slim Away, a 2011 and 2012 True Top Spender) -- and slimming is the secondary pitch for this item.

It's a long shot, but it's still a shot.

[Spot is also available here.]

Foot Angel

Description: A foot compression sleeve
Main Pitch: "Helps relieve foot and ankle pain in seven different zones"
Main Offer: $12.99 for one
Bonus: Double the offer (just pay P&H)
Marketer: Ontel
Website: www.BuyFootAngel.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

This product is similar to Telebrands' Ankle Genie, a True Top Spender for the first half of this year. Even more intriguing, Ankle Genie was originally called Ankle Angel.

Is this a sanctioned test? An Ouroboros strategy? Both?

Whatever the case, I am going to go with "there's only room for one." This is too close to Ankle Genie, and Ankle Genie is too recent, for this to be successful. In 7-10 years, however, this could be an excellent choice for a revival of the concept.

[Spot is also available here.]

Weekly Round-Up

  1. Cuplettes. Producer: Infomercials Inc. Pitch: "Premium silicone bakeware that easily allows you to bake a fillable hole into any of your favorite foods." Comments: This is a beautifully shot commercial with all the special hallmarks of this producer's unique style. However, similar products have been tried without success (see Brownie Derby, Fill 'N Flavor). [ss]
  3. Hans. Marketer: Will It Launch. Pitch: "Clean to remove the grease germs call home plus polish and shine." Comments: Another terrible product idea. Only extreme germophobes would even consider buying this. For everyone else, the pant-leg solution (shown in the opening of this commercial) suffices just fine. [ss]
  5. Kitty Clean Mat. Marketer: Spark Innovators. Pitch: "Amazing new litter-catch mat stops litter in its tracks." Comments: This product is similar to (although better than) Ontel's Kitty Catch Mat, which I will be reviewing in the upcoming November issue of Response. Sneak peek: I don't like the concept because shedding cat fur is a bigger problem and has yet to produce a hit. [ss]
  7. Wooltastic. Marketer: Lenfest. Pitch: "All-natural reusable dryer balls that soften your laundry and eliminate wrinkled messes" Comments: Ontel's Dryer Balls was a major retail success circa 2006. Allstar's Mister Steamy was a 2010 True Top Spender. This product has elements of both but isn't as good as either. [ss]

October 22, 2014

SciMark Report from October Response

Body art is the latest duel

My latest SciMark Report in print is now available on the Response Website.

The items I reviewed include a duel between Allstar's Hot Jewels [ss] and IdeaVillage's Shimmer Jewelry Tattoos [ss], Ontel's Big Vision [ss] and Telebrands' Security Sleeves [ss].

I experimented with using survey data to inform my opinions in this column. Let me know what you think of the approach.

Coming Soon

In the upcoming November issue, I'll be covering the following new projects:

Check out the upcoming issue to see what I have to say about those projects.

October 16, 2014

Weekly Round-Up

Prediction: Hit!

  1. Janimals. Marketer: Jay At Play. Producer: Hutton-Miller. Pitch: "The wearable stuffed animals." Comments: This is a great product with tons of play value and maximum "pester power" potential. The creative is, of course, excellent and features a super-catchy jingle. Finally, this marketer/distributor is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the opportunity. This one's a layup! [ss]
  3. Air Bead Cushion. Pitch: "Perfectly contours to your bottom for comfort and support." Comments: Air bead cushion? Whoopee cushion is more like it! It's not quite that bad, but the sound this makes is certainly embarrassing and will be a barrier to purchase. Otherwise, this is the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow idea applied to the Forever Comfy concept, which should give it a decent shot. [ss]
  5. Cheese Tease. Pitch: "The exciting new electronic cat toy that makes your kitty jump for joy." Comments: Yet another ill-fated attempt to replicate the success of Cat's Meow. Yet another free data point for the rest of us. [ss]
  7. One Pan. Marketer: Spark Innovators. Producer: Kerrmercials. Pitch: "Three different meals made at the same time with just one pan." Comments: Hearthware tried a variation of this idea with its L'ovenware silicone bakeware back in the spring of 2012. They called it the "twice as nice divider tray." (You can watch the pitch here.) At the time, I thought there might be something to the idea. But upon further consideration, I find it hard to imagine two things people would want to cook together (and that would cook properly at exactly the same temperature and cooking time), let alone three things. [ss]
  9. Under Light. Marketer/Producer: Zoom TV. Pitch: "Motion-activated accent lighting for your home." Comments: Zoom products have higher-than-average odds of success, and this creative does an excellent job selling the product and making it look high quality. That said, the product is an LED light and thus finds itself in one of the worst Siren categories in the industry right now. On a side note, I may have detected a theme ... Zoom's Aqua Rug is based on a product made for yachts. This pitch is all about replicating the kind of accent lighting found in "million-dollar designer homes." Someone has been shopping for ideas at the One Percenter Store! [ss]

October 14, 2014

Plumber's Secret: Old Gold?

New Name: Plumber's Hero
Starring: Marc Gill (and his mom)
Original Hit Years: 1999-2000 (Nos. 52, 60 on JW Annual)
Website: www.PlumbersHero.com
Prediction: On the fence

This product was done years ago with Bob Villa. (You can watch the creative here.) Since then, drain-opening devices have had a great run on live shopping and a poor run on DRTV. The only success I can think of is Ontel's Turbo Snake (No. 42 on the 2009 JW Annual), but that item has little in common with this one.

As for the creative, I think it's as good as it possibly could be. Marc nails all of the magic demos from live shopping and then some, and the added touch of having his mom perform the demo is endearing and effective. I also like the simplicity and memorability of the slogan: "Just press and unclog the mess!" For these reasons, I give this project a 50/50 shot whereas I would otherwise consider it unlikely to succeed.

[Spot is also available here.]

One Touch Can Opener: Old Gold? (2)

New Name: Smart Touch Can Opener
Current Marketer: Telebrands
Original Hit Year: 2006 (No. 13 on the JW Annual)
Original Marketer: Cricket
Website: www.BuySmartTouch.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

This is a second attempt to discover 'Old Gold.' The first was by Harvest and was called the Tornado Can Opener.

Although the timing is getting better, my general feeling about gimmicky items like these is that it takes a long time for them to rise again -- if that is even possible. A full 10 years may not be long enough for people to forget that last time they (or someone they know) fell for this over-promise. And for those who may be forgetful, it is just too easy to 'Google the past' these days.

[Spot is also available here.]

October 09, 2014

Weekly Round-Up

  1. Chargetastic. Marketer: Eagle Eye. Producer: Paddock Productions. Pitch: "The on-the-go charging solution for today's modern family." Comments: Written by yours truly. [ss]
  3. Dimmit. Marketer: Norman Direct. Producer: Paddock Productions. Pitch: "The easy way to change any lamp into a dimming lamp." Comments: Also written by yours truly, but alas a 'fast fail.' (Link goes to spot.) [ss]
  5. Callus Magic. Producer: Hutton-Miller. Pitch: "The fast, easy way to remove cracked, dry calluses." Comments: This category has a mixed history. Ontel's Miracle Foot Repair was a big success back in 2001-2002. Telebrands' Heel Tastic also made the charts in 2009 and 2010. But there have also been several failures (Callous Clear, 30 Minute Foot Repair & Soothe Sox). Better odds than most categories, I suppose. [ss]
  7. Fresh Shields. Pitch: "Underarm pads ... block odors and stains, keeping you fresh and dry." Marketer: Hampton. Comments: Another 'fast fail.' Spark Innovators tried a similar item in 2009 (Dry Guards) with the same result. [ss]
  9. Shape Cakes. Starring: Connie Willis. Marketer: Spark Innovators. Producer: NexTV. Pitch: "Create incredible looking cakes in just minutes." Comments: Good spot, but this strikes me as something only the 'Martha Stewart minority' would go for. [ss]
  11. SmartyKat Feather Whirl. Pitch: "The fun new way for your cat to play." Comments: The success of Cat's Meow continues to confuse people and cause them to chase products like these (sort of like cats chase a moving toy). On the bright side, lots of data allows savvy players to apply my 'one is an outlier; three is a category' rule and determine if this sort of item is worth focusing on. [ss]
  13. Magic Card. Marketer: Will It Launch. Pitch: "Everything you need to power up and transfer data from device to device." Comments: Attempt #342. Something tells me the data-transfer twist won't make the CPO any better. [ss]
  15. Paper Bling. Pitch: "Paper bead maker lets you create beautiful jewelry in no time." Comments: A 'fast fail.' (Link goes to spot.) I'm guessing 'paper jewelry' sounds like an oxymoron to most people -- even kids. [ss]
  17. Wall Rider. Marketer: Telebrands. Pitch: "The new infrared control car defying the laws of gravity." Comments: Another 'fast fail.' (Link goes to spot.) [ss]
  19. Wonder Wallet. Pitch: "The amazingly flat wallet that's twice as thin as a regular wallet." Comments: A final 'fast fail.' (Link goes to spot.) Slim wallets have a poor track record these days as I detailed here. [ss]

Flip Vision

Description: Flip-up reading glasses
Main Pitch: "Your reading glasses are always there when you need them and not when you don't"
Main Offer: $10 for a pair (choice of 5 magnifications)
Bonus: 2nd pair (just pay a separate fee)
Marketer: Telebrands
Website: www.GetFlipVision.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

I have to go with category history here. I have never known any type of glasses to do well on DRTV except sunglasses.

Telebrands seems to disagree with my assessment. They have tested more eyeglasses than any other marketer (see Joy Readers, Flexy View) and have even apparently acquired projects with which other marketers have failed.

This certainly is an enticingly large category, but large categories are usually crowded categories that are very difficult to break into.

[Spot is also available here.]

Parachute Loom

Description: A bracelet maker
Main Pitch: "The new bracelet design station for weaving colorful creations"
Main Offer: $19.99 for loom, 5 cords & clips, how-to guide
Bonus: 5 camouflage cords & clips (free)
Marketer: IdeaVillage
Producer: As Seen on Productions
Website: www.ParachuteLoom.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

This is a follow-up to IdeaVillage's Fun Loom and another attempt to apply the 'pro' line-extension strategy for which this marketer is famous.

Can the Rainbow Loom craze have a second act? And can a follower item be the one to initiate and capitalize on it? It's possible, but unlikely. Crazes do not often line extend, and these bands have all the markings of a craze rather than a category.

[Spot is also available here.]

October 07, 2014

Dueling Peeler Pitchmen

Da Vinci Pro

Description: A peeler
Main Pitch: "The art of making meals lightning fast with just one pass"
Main Offer: $14.95 for one
Bonus: Folding cutting board (just pay S&H)
Starring: Vince Offer
Marketer: IdeaVillage
Producer: The Schwartz Group
Website: www.DaVinciPro.com
Prediction: On the fence

Miracle Peeler

Main Pitch: "Effortlessly peels on one side and easily juliennes on the other"
Main Offer: $14.99 for one
Bonus: Mandolin & safety holder (just pay P&H)
Starring: Marc Gill
Marketer: Ontel
Website: www.MiraclePeeler.com
Prediction: On the fence

The only peeler in DRTV history that made it onto the annual charts also found itself in a duel. In 2009, Tristar's Titan Peeler and SAS Group's Samurai Speed Peeler (showcased in this news segment) battled on TV and at retail with Titan Peeler emerging as the clear winner. Both of these projects borrow from those successes, but both have added a new twist that upgrades the concept. So which one will emerge victorious? It's a 'battle of brothers' yet again!

Breaking it down: Vince does a better job pitching his product as he is much more lively and entertaining. But his brand of humor may also backfire as it tends to offend. The "me so hungry" and "you're gonna love it long time" lines are sure to generate at least a little controversy (not that controversy is always a bad thing). As for the products, neither one is particularly attractive, but Ontel's item looks more like a peeler and easier to use. The bottom line: With so much talent and two strong retail distributors involved, this one's a dead heat.

[The Da Vinci Pro spot is also available here, and the Miracle Peeler spot is available here.]

Speed Abs

Description: An ab wheel
Main Pitch: "The ultimate abdominal trainer for rock-hard abs"
Main Offer: $29.99 for one
Bonus: Comfort knee pad, workout guide & meal plan (free)
Marketer: Ontel
Website: www.SpeedAbs.com
Prediction: On the fence

Short-form fitness isn't exactly a hot category these days, but it has been a while since an ab item broke through, so Ontel's timing could be right. Two other pieces of information that sort of cancel each other out: 1) This is an 'Old Gold' item of sorts in that it's an improved version of the classic Ab Wheel; 2) the creator of Perfect Pushup tried to bring back the Ab Wheel last year under the name Ab Carver Pro.

Clever Grip

Description: A phone clip
Main Pitch: "The new smart phone clip with the super-strong grip"
Main Offer: $14.95 for one
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay P&H)
Marketer: Emson
Website: www.CleverGrip.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

There's only room for one, and Allstar's GripGo (a much cooler product) is the one. Even a 'follower' version of that item (Grab-It!) couldn't compete.

Otherwise, this is a terrible category. Of the dozens of smart phone and tablet accessories that have been tried on DRTV, not one (or not one other) has been successful. It seems GripGo was an outlier, most likely because the demos were so different and amazing.

[Spot is also available here.]


Description: Slippers
Main Pitch: "The first, super-soft slipper with advanced orthopedic technology built right inside"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one pair
Bonus: Free shipping
Marketer: IdeaVillage
Producer: Monte-Brooks
Website: www.BuyTruBalance.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

This appears to be a re-launch and re-positioning of Fun Feet (also by Monte-Brooks), an item I reviewed in the May issue of Response magazine. The major change is the addition of orthopedic claims. The first commercial was about comfort and fun. This commercial is about foot support and includes the claim that it "helps relieve pain in ankles, knees, and lower back related to over-pronation."

With Top Dog's Be Active Brace at the top of the charts, I am not surprised at this direction. But my thoughts from the magazine on slippers remain the same: Because they're ubiquitous, it's hard to break through in this category.

[Spot is also available here.]

Tuff Glove

Description: Heat-resistant gloves
Main Pitch: "Protects your hands from temperatures up to 480 degrees"
Main Offer: $10 for one pair
Bonus: 2nd pair (just pay P&H)
Marketer: Ontel
Website: www.BuyTuffGloves.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

Speaking of 'Old Gold' and Ontel, this is an attempt to repeat the success of 'Ove' Glove. The problem: 'Ove' Glove is distributed by Joseph Enterprises (also known for their Chia Pet and The Clapper), which means it is still selling wherever it can possibly sell (here it is at Target) and being supported by a seasonal TV campaign. Those guys don't believe in Phoenixes: Their projects never die!

Also: Sully tried an item with similar demos in the summer of 2010. It was called Grill Glove, and it didn't go very far.

[Spot is also available here.]

Posting Pandemonium!

Not me, but it could be!

For those loyal readers who just read their second loaded SciMark Report in as many days and are wondering why I am posting so many reviews, please allow me to explain: Paying gigs tied me up for a week or so, and in that time the industry decided to go nuts testing items. It seems everyone is suddenly super-motivated to find hits for next year!

Rather than weigh down your inbox with a single, endless email, I have been breaking up the back-log into sets of five reviews at a time (give or take). Later this week, on the same day I post my new 'Weekly Round-Up,' I will also post my reviews of the few projects that remain.

Whew! This blogging stuff is hard work!

October 06, 2014

Shaping the Future of DR

In my Secret Color review, I highlighted a project and several producers that I believe are helping to shape the future of DR. More of this type of work is popping up every day, so I'm starting a new feature to highlight it. In this post, I have two:

1. The new Perfect Bacon Bowl spot. Speaking of Hutton-Miller genius, the new creative and jingle for Allstar's Bacon Bowl is, to quote the anthem, "brilliant and astounding." It also demonstrates that Allstar learned from its experience with Snuggie and is applying some of those techniques to create buzz and encourage cult-like obsessions with its products. Of course, the approach is only effective as part of a retail/brand-support strategy and wouldn't work for most DR products -- but for this one? It's, well, perfect!

2. Brett Favre for Micro Touch & Copper Fit. I can only guess what it cost IdeaVillage to sign a football legend like Brett Favre, and the number I'm imagining would make no sense for a typical DRTV campaign. But this case is different. MicroTouch is a decade-old brand that has proved its staying power. I'm not sure how I feel about a clean-shaven Brett Favre, though. On the one hand, it's an interesting novelty since he is known for his scruffy look. On the other hand, he is known for his scruffy look.

Adding Mr. Favre to IdeaVillage's Copper Fit campaign is also a smart move since that category has become highly competitive and any point of difference could mean the difference between success or failure. It wouldn't make sense as a stand-alone strategy, but as a package with MicroTouch I like it. In any case, upgrading from the C- and B-level personalities that have been traditionally used in DR to A-level personalities may also prove to be an important part of the evolution of DR.

Clear Control

Description: Adjustable eyeglasses
Main Pitch: "See far or near, crystal clear, with the same pair of glasses"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: Clear Control Sunglasses (just pay a separate fee)
Marketer: Telebrands
Website: www.GetClearControl.com
Prediction: On the fence

In the April edition of Response magazine, I reviewed an IdeaVillage product called Instant 20/20. That site is still live and yet, five months later, we have this project. Is it a 'follower'? A late duel? Or has the project changed hands? And why?

More important, the fuss seems to indicate there is some positive information about this item. That surprises me, but then my only firm conclusion about the first item was that it was $10 too expensive (at $29.99). In both cases, that has been remedied. We'll see what happens.

[Spot is also available here.]

Star Night Laser

Description: A landscape light projector
Main Pitch: "The easy, fast, most spectacular way ever to decorate your home instantly"
Main Offer: 3 pay of $19.99
Bonus: N/A
Marketer: Tristar
Website: www.StarNightLaser.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

This is a 'follower' item. The first was Telebrands' Night Stars. As this one is three times the price of Telebrands', it should be obvious who will win if this becomes a duel.

That said, I do like this creative and pitch a lot better, and it seems equally obvious who will be able to deliver the better quality product and customer satisfaction.

[Spot is also available here.]


Description: Furniture 'boots'
Main Pitch: "Just slip them on and floor scratches are gone"
Main Offer: $10 for 16 in standard size
Bonus: 16 in jumbo size (just pay P&H)
Marketer: Allstar/Lenfest
Producer: Opfer
Website: www.Floorzies.com
Prediction: On the fence

Multiple variations of this idea have sold in catalogs for years, and certain speciality retailers do a steady business in the basic version of this solution (which the commercial indicts). So, from a sales-history perspective, this item has promise.

Certain limitations of the product prevent me from going all the way over to a positive prediction, however. For one thing, this problem strikes me as fairly low on the scale. There is also the matter of this product being strictly utilitarian, which is to say it lacks the "wow" and demonstrability of the best DR items. Still, the commercial makes a strong case for the item's necessity, and the offer is certainly rich enough to close the sale.

[Spot is also available here.]

Glow Candles

Description: Flameless candles
Main Pitch: "The flameless, color-changing candles with a vanilla scent"
Main Offer: $19.99 for a set of three
Bonus: Additional set of three (just pay P&H)
Marketer: Ontel
Producer: Concepts TV
Website: www.BuyGlowCandles.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

This is another 'follower' project. The first was InvenTel's Luma Candles. Ironically, it was covered in the same Response column as Night Stars, which was also recently 'followed' by Star Night Laser (albeit at a much higher price). I hope I'm not giving people ideas!

In any case, my thoughts on flameless candles remain the same. The fact that yet another marketer is trying one just means this is about to become a Siren category.

[Spot is also available here.]

Clever Mop

Description: A mop system
Main Pitch: "Allows you to mop your floor with clean water, every pass"
Main Offer: $9.99 for the mop and spinner
Bonus: Dual Chamber Bucket (just pay separate P&H)
Marketer: Tristar
Website: www.CleverMop.com
Prediction: On the fence

This is the third version of this item to enter the market. If the second one I reviewed (Emson's Big Boss Insta Mop) was not a sanctioned variation, as I hypothesized, that would make this is a rare and slow-to-unfold Triple Duel.

Of the three, Hurricane Spin Mop has the advantages of a huge media headstart and an industry-leading distribution partner (Telebrands). That said, this competitor is less than half of one payment of the other two (one payment of $9.99 vs. 2 payments of $19.99). Assuming the products are of comparable quality and Tristar can establish a beachhead, this duel could end unpredictably. Regardless of the outcome, their entrée will certainly kill the item's profit potential.

[Spot is also available here.]

October 03, 2014

Vince Offer's Latest Production

Congratulations to Vince Offer and wife Melody on the recent arrival of a baby girl. Aralina Rose Shlomi (shown above) was born Monday, September 29 at 8:59 PM. She weighed in at 7 pounds and measured 20 inches long.

Rumor has it the baby was immediately swaddled in a ShamWow! and was given a Schticky instead of a rattle to play with. Those common baby 'accidents' won't be a problem, either, as the couple has plenty of InVinceable cleaner at home.

Joking aside, we congratulate the happy couple on the birth of their first and wish beautiful little Aralina a long life full of joy. Mazel Tov!

October 02, 2014

Secret Color

Description: A cross between Secret Extensions & Hot Huez
Main Pitch: "Get the color without commitment"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: Free shipping on 2nd one
Starring: Demi Lovato
Marketer: Allstar
Producer: Hutton-Miller
Website: www.SecretColor.com
Prediction: On the fence

This is the evolution and future of DR, and only a few producers are capable of pulling it off. Two others that come to mind: Infomercials Inc. and Blue Reef (see Copper Flex). Many others come to mind as not being capable of it.

So what's so great about this approach? Mainly that it employs key DR selling techniques (lots of demos, B&As, a compelling offer) without feeling like a DR pitch. What it feels like is a high-end brand commercial, and that means it has a real shot at selling girls, a coveted demographic that has traditionally been considered one of the hardest groups to reach with DRTV.

Not to overstate my case, but if DR as we know it is going to survive, our industry will have to figure out a way to connect with younger audiences like this one. Whether this exact approach is the answer is anyone's guess, but we should be rooting for this one to succeed and help show us the way.

[Spot is also available here.]

Beauty Buns

Description: Butt-lifting leggings
Main Pitch: "Go from flat to fab instantly"
Main Offer: $29.99 for one pair
Bonus: 2nd pair for half price
Marketer: Hampton Direct
Producer: Concepts TV
Website: www.BeautyBuns.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

Several butt-enhancing garments have been tried on TV, none with any success. My favorite was the first, a product called Booty Pop. Although it got some favorable press coverage, it never took off. A subsequent attempt hit a positioning point also found in this commercial. It was called Brazilian Secret. Apparently, Brazil is as famous for its butts as it is for its lack of hair on the, um, flip side. Or at least someone is trying to brand-extend (?) that marketing concept.

In any case, category history suggests faking a big butt isn't as important to women as faking a big bust, so I give this one low odds of success. Of course, the big butt has become more visible these days (thank you Kim Kardashian and Nicky Minaj), so the trend could be moving in the right direction.

On a related note, this isn't the first time a shapewear/leggings crossover has been tried. Tristar added Slim & Tone Leggings to its "Genie" line a year ago. That garment isn't about enhancing the butt per se, but shaping the area is one of its five focuses.

Hot Stampz

Description: Hair stamps
Main Pitch: "Turn boring, plain hair into the next big thing"
Main Offer: $10 for 2 stamps
Bonus: 2 more stamps (just pay P&H, carrying case and Hot Huez set (free)
Marketer: Allstar
Website: www.HotStampz.com
Prediction: On the fence

This is Allstar's 6th attempt at a "Hot" branded item (by my count), and their 5th attempt at a "Hot" branded hair item. Three and two of those attempts, respectively, have yielded hits. There is no question that Allstar is onto something in both cases (see also Secret Color). They seem to have a bead on what is fashionable and will appeal to young girls.

I, on the other hand, do not ... so I'm going to end my review here.

Weekly Round-Up

  1. Amazing Elastic Plastic. Marketer: SAS Group. Pitch: "Create exciting balloons that are way more fun that ordinary balloons." Comments:This is a non-DR "old gold" item from years ago. It has the "wow" to be successful and a history of kids going crazy for it, which would normally spell success. But as I wrote in my Wonki Wands review (No. 8 in this Weekly Round-Up), there is too much competition now with Juggle Bubbles and Wubble Bubble already in rollout. [ss]
  3. Burrito Perfect. Marketer: InvenTel. Pitch: "The simple, fast, mess-free way to make perfect burritos any day." Comments: A 'fast fail.' This 'Flip Fold for burritos' probably only makes sense if you work at Chipotle. (Link goes to spot.) [ss]
  5. GlowJamas. Marketer: Lenfest. Pitch: "The amazing glow-in-the-dark pajama shirts." Comments: Another apparent 'fast fail.' Neat concept but apparently not enough play value or "wow" to generate that all-important "pester power." [ss]
  7. InstaLamp. Pitch: "Instantly put a lamp anywhere -- no electric outlet required." Comments: A predictable 'fast fail.' Still a Siren category. [ss]
  9. K9 Dentist. Pitch: "Vet quality cleaning at a fraction of the cost." Comments: I covered the history of this category in my review of Allstar's Brush No More, so I won't rehash it here. In a nutshell: One success (and a 'follower') versus six flops. [ss]
  11. Kleva Chef. Marketer: Allstar. Pitch: "Turns the jobs you hate into the jobs you love." Comments: Yet another 'fast fail.' This fail was probably about the product: It's not very exciting. [ss]
  13. Marshmallow Puff Pop. Marketer: Edison Nation. Pitch: "The fun way to make yummy treats you can eat." Comments: Looks delicious, but this category is a roll of the dice. [ss]
  15. Ora Pup. Pitch: "Helps cure bad dog breath." Comments: In fact, this exact concept has been tried twice before (see Fresh Licks and Brushy Bowl). [ss]
  17. Personal Pedi. Pitch: "Quickly removes hard, ugly calluses." Comments: This is a third attempt after Emjoi's Micro-Pedi and Telebrands' Ped Egg Power. I don't know the fate of the second project yet, but I suspect this is going to be a 'third time is never the charm' situation. [ss]
  19. Point and Clean. Marketer: Spark Innovators. Pitch: "The most advanced home cleaning tool ever created." Comments: This is a Point 'N Paint for cleaning -- and the final 'fast fail' of the week. (Link goes to spot.) Painting gadgets have a solid track record on DRTV (Point 'N Paint was No. 38 on the 2009 JW Annual), but I can't say the same about cleaning gadgets. With the possible exception of Telebrands' Windshield Wonder, I can't think of a single success. [ss]
  21. Poresonic. Marketer: National Express. Pitch: "Professional results right at home every day." Comments: My guess is that women will be afraid of using a powered device on their face, particularly one that doesn't have the backing of a known brand. In general, this is the problem with beauty and DR. [ss]
  23. Sure Stop Wedge. Marketer: Will It Launch. Pitch: "The world's premier door stop." Comments: This product wouldn't even make it onto a presentation at most of the major DRTV companies, let alone all the way to TV. Prediction: Bomb. [ss]